You know how to Google like the best of them right? After all, you’ve been using the massively popular search engine since before it became a verb…Even so, there are many tricks you can use to narrow your search for the most precise results. We recently read a couple articles on the websites How-To Geek and the Atlantic that highlighted some ways to do this. We wanted to share a few that we considered were the most helpful.
Operators are key
If you have never used operators before, they are the critical for finding exactly what you are looking for without needing to scour pages and pages of search results. The How-To Geek site gave a great illustration of how to do this. Say an individual is seeking articles discussing college test scores between 2008 and 2010, but only articles written by the New York Times. Using the operator “site:” before “nytimes.com” will tell Google to only search on that site. Then by adding quotation marks around exact phrases you want it to look for, in this case “test scores,” it will look for those phrases when searching the site. Additionally to narrow the focus to a date range, the user could add 2008..2010 and Google will only look at the articles written within that range.
Google Scholar is another easy way to narrow search results. It prompts Google to only search academic and scholarly work, which would be great for research papers. To do this you can employ operators. For example, if you’re looking for a paper written by Dr. Breit about the evolution of coding languages, you’d input the operator “author:” in front of “Breit” followed by the phrase “evolution of coding languages” into Google Scholar. I tried it on the off-chance I might stir up some documentation by a particular medical specialist and immediately found several articles he collaborated in - very helpful.
“Control F” is a way to search within your search results. For example, perhaps you are searching for a new outfit to wear to a holiday party. After searching for “party dress” you can hold Control on your keyboard and click “F.” A small search bar will pop up in the top or bottom of your screen and in it you can search your results by typing “pink” or “long” to help you narrow your search.